Miranda is one of the main characters in the play The Tempest which is written by Shakespeare. The main thing about this character is that she is the only female character of the play on stage while the other three (Sycorax, Claribel and Miranda’s mother) are just mentioned.
She forms a couple with Ferdinand and just like Ferdinand, she is also an enabling agent of Prospero’s scheme of events.
Miranda came to this island when she was three years old and her father was exiled by her uncle. It is important to notice that before Ferdinand, she had never seen any other man.
Even though she truly falls in love with Ferdinand while showing all the innocence and beauty prized in a woman, one can question her gender role and how well she has internalized patriarchy that she doesn’t even question when her worth is trialed by Ferdinand around the fact whether she is a virgin or not.
Her compassion and dedication can be weighed against her lack of individuality in terms of thoughts and perceptions.
Prospero tells Miranda about their origin history after twelve years of living. In the play, only when the occasion comes and the ship is wrecked by his magical power, Miranda is told about their reality.
In her first appearance in the play, she also falls asleep under the spell of her father’s magic. She wakes up when her father wants her to, her meeting with Ferdinand is also her father’s design.
The only part where she expressed her intellectually is when she shouts back at Caliban. Echoing her father’s disappointment in Caliban’s savagery, she says that “Took pains to make thee speak, taught thee each hour one thing or other: when thou didst not, savage, know thine own meaning, but wouldst gabble like a thing most brutish, I endow’d thy purposes with words that made them known. But thy vile race, though thou didst learn, had that in’t which good natures could not abide to be with; therefore wast thou deservedly confined into this rock.”
The only time her character is in disagreement with her father is when he is, pretentiously, harsh towards Ferdinand.
Her character is considered to be the pinnacle of female virtue. Ferdinand says that Miranda’s beauty can “quicken what’s dead.” He says that she is “so perfect, so peerless, are created of every creature’s best.”
Prosper says that Miranda “will outstrip all praise and make it halt behind her.” But one can notice how subordinated her character is to all those males around. She is innocent but innocent enough to be manipulated at will by her father and not questioning his magical power in this context even once.
Her dedication is so unquestioned that she says to Ferdinand that “I am your wife, if you will marry me; if not, I’ll die your maid.” Her character clearly reveals the sexual attitude of males towards females at that age.